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The Loss of Innocence

So many survivors long for when life was "normal" and "happy", but I don't know how much of that was ever real.

  1. Peace
    There is a difference between sadness and depression. Depression is hopeless, frightening, and mind-numbing. But sadness is beautiful—the gentle moment when your spirit prepares itself for a fresh start.

    When you begin to feel real sadness, it’s a sign that you’re reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. Instead of devastating emptiness and upsetting triggers, your heart is ready to make one last transition. You’re done mourning the loss of your soul mate—and instead, you are finally ready to mourn for yourself. You go from a perpetual state of thinking about someone else, to suddenly thinking about what you lost from all of this.

    And most survivors find that they’ve lost a lot: friendships, money, career opportunities, self-esteem, health, and dignity. Fortunately, these things can all be repaired. You find that as you return to your roots, all of these things fall back into place. Some will even improve, especially future friendships and relationships.

    But there’s one thing you will never be able to get back: your innocence. Keep in mind that innocence has nothing to do with ignorance or naivety. It’s simply the well-intentioned belief that all human beings have some good in them—the trust and love that you wholeheartedly gave to someone else. That’s innocence.

    Moving forward, you will never see the world like that again.

    That’s not to say you’re now hyper-vigilant and jaded. It just means that you’re going to view the world and the people around you in a more realistic light. Instead of automatically projecting your own goodness onto others, you let their actions speak for themselves. You see, this is not at all a bad thing. It’s just sad at first, because you can never know you’re losing your innocence until it’s actually gone.

    Many survivors find that they didn’t really know how to express sadness or anger throughout most of their lives. They were instead expected to be a cheerful servant for everyone around them. And so they developed this stubborn light in their hearts that always sought to see the best in everything, no matter what evidence pointed to the contrary.

    But you will come to see that the psychopath is something that your heart can never light up. And you will try. That’s what cognitive dissonance is all about. For months, you oscillated back and forth between the idealize and devalue phases, trying to understand which one was real. You reasoned that of course they loved you, because they said they did. But then you looked at their actions, which did not at all reflect their words. You know intuitively that love is not insulting, criticizing, cheating, and lying. Love does not make you feel suicidal. Love does not mock you for having hurt feelings.

    And so, the more you thought about it, the angrier and more depressed you got. The light inside of you began to fade away as this person consumed your every thought. The light could not transform their behavior, so instead it started to absorb it, growing dimmer every day.

    As time went on, you felt profound rage and emptiness that you’d never felt in your life. Throughout most of the process, you probably didn’t even know how to express it. So on the out-side, you remained this happy person that everyone expected and needed. You wouldn’t want to inconvenience anyone with your feelings. But deep down, something was changing. The light was almost out, and suddenly you found yourself feeling very resentful and irritated with many people—people you thought were your closest friends.

    After each interaction, you’d return home and find yourself reflecting for hours on what had just taken place. Who was that? It wasn’t you. You didn’t truly believe the things you were saying, and you certainly held no respect for the gossip and insults they so adored. Suddenly your light isn’t justifying it all away as humor anymore. You’re just left with the cold reality that you’ve surrounded yourself with some very unkind people.

    You’re left as a drained battery that’s still expected to fuel a rocket. Your energy is broken. You want to automatically love everyone like you used to, but you can’t. Unkindness and superficiality frustrate you when they never did before.

    For a long time, you probably remembered the psychopath so fondly not because they were a good person, but because that was the peak of your light. You were rewarded every single day for denying the bad and glorifying the mediocre. You now associate that relationship with your light, but that does not mean they actually made you happy. It means your innocence made you happy, because it was protecting your very gentle heart.

    Coming to disassociate your innocence with genuine happiness is essential to your healing process. Simply because you once felt euphoric with the psychopath and friends who frequently insulted you does not mean that life was actually great at the time. Likewise, just because you feel sadness now does not mean that your life is somehow bad. On the contrary, things are looking brighter than ever before. You’re just struggling to enjoy the world without your light.

    But you don’t have to. Your light never left you—it’s just waiting. Yes, it’s a bit shy right now. But as you begin to develop your self-respect and boundaries, the light will flicker back on. And as you explore your love and spirituality, the light will return stronger than ever.

    So many survivors long for when life was “normal” and “happy”, but how much of that was ever real? How much of that was really spent by you desperately trying to replace the negative with positive? How much of it was projection, while other people were busy projecting their own poison onto you? When your light fades, especially after a trauma like this, it becomes far more difficult to keep projecting goodness onto others.

    So I believe that you do not truly miss your past, but instead the light you associate with it.

    One thing I’ve noticed about every member on PsychopathFree.com is that none of them want to feel this darkness. Not a single one. They do not want to be victims. They want to recover their happiness and joy. They feel this burning anger that they are even angry in the first place. They’ve practiced forgiveness throughout their entire lives, only to be confronted with the most unforgivable experience of a psychopath. Why? What was the point? Why did your identity need to be destroyed like this, leaving you so incredibly broken and drained?

    With time, you will find your own answers to these questions. Your innocence was a beautiful gift, but the paradox was that you never knew you had it. This was why you tended to pour so much of your love and affection into other human beings. Because you hadn’t yet felt that love for yourself. Through the psychopathic healing process, you make that final leap. As uncomfortable as it may be, you find self-respect and begin creating healthy boundaries. Instead of trying to fit in with others, you find yourself wondering why people don’t behave more like you. Empathetic, compassionate, loving, outgoing, creative, easy-going, responsible, caring… The gentle souls who walk this Earth and touch it only with kindness.

    When your light is gone, you can no longer use it to fix all of the broken things around you. So in its place, you begin to surround yourself with people who actually share and appreciate your most wonderful qualities. And you can’t discover all of that magic until your innocence is gone, giving you an opportunity to see the world as it truly is—as you truly are.

    This journey is about you, and it always has been. Once you discover this, you are finally ready to fly free.

    I've written a new book about long-term healing. Whole Again is now published! If you would like to be notified about future books, you can enter your email address below. This is not a mailing list. Just a one-time notification:

Article Author: Peace